Calgary

Bragg Creek grocery store faces closure as locals favour big Calgary chains

The owner of the only grocery store in Bragg Creek, Alta., says if people who live in the hamlet don't start buying locally more often, she will have to close her doors.

'2 years ago we were making a reasonable living. Now, I haven't been paid in a month'

Bragg Creek Foods owner Lori Gildemeister says she's in danger of going out of business because of competition from big-box stores in Calgary. (CBC)

The owner of the only grocery store in Bragg Creek, Alta., says if people who live in the hamlet don't start buying locally more often, she will have to close her doors.

Lori Gildemeister says in order for Bragg Creek Foods to be a viable business, she needs an additional $3,000 per day in receipts — or about 300 transactions of $10.

"If I don't get support, I'm gone. It's not viable enough to sell. I need those 300 extra transactions a day because that's where we were two years ago," she said.

"Two years ago we were making a reasonable living. Now, I haven't been paid in a month."

Gildemeister says she understands that a tough economy has people looking for bargains, and that can mean making grocery runs to Calgary.

Bragg Creek Foods owner Lori Gildemeister rings through a customer. (CBC)

"If you're passing the Superstore, their milk is cheaper. I can't compete with that. The Superstore actually sells it below the cost to get you in the store," she said.

"But people don't understand what an independent can do for you. Let's take my meat department. I have two full-time people that cut your meat for you far better than you're ever going to get at a grocery store, a corporate grocery store."

Gildmeister and her loyal customers are trying to spread the word, by mouth and by social media, before she's forced out of business.

Bragg Creek resident Rocky Whittaker says losing the local grocery store would leave a hole in the hamlet's heart.

"If we don't support not only this store but also other businesses in the area, we might find ourselves saying, 'We didn't know what we had until it was gone,'" he said.

"Myself, I've always said … I want to make this my main purchasing area to support the businesses that are here."

With files from Dave Will

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